The Best English Wines: Sumptuous Reds
While England may not be the first country you think of when discussing wine, it has certainly come a long way in the past 20 years. English sparkling wines have enjoyed global recognition in recent years and have proven themselves more than a match for the champagnes of France. But aside from English sparkling wines, the country is fairly well known for producing high quality white wine and roses.
English red wine on the other hand, makes up just 10% of total wine production in England. Even with English wine becoming more respected among the wine drinking community, red wines produced in the country have still been more or less an afterthought. The country simply doesn’t benefit from the hours of sunshine required to fully ripen red wine grapes to produce the full bodied, fruity flavours of a merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
However, that’s no reason to rule them out. While English red wines don’t come in such a wide variety as their European counterparts, you’d be mistaken for thinking red wine is beyond the capabilities of English wine makers. There are some world class pinot noirs being produced in England that are well suited to a cooler climate and are well worth seeking out. Here are 3 of the best red wines in England today.
Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir
This medium to light bodied red is a classic example of a cool climate pinot noir done right. Crafted in small batches in the Sussex based Bolney Wine Estate, it offers toasted oak flavours and hints of cherries and cedar wood. Multi-award winning on an international arena, this fine example of an English wine pairs well with cheese (especially camembert) and mushroom and game dishes. Get it while you can from the estate directly, good wine shops or Waitrose.
Denbies Litmus Red Pinot
Another stunning pinot noir, this time from the Surrey based Denbies Wine Estate. With a light, cherry red colour it carries the tell-tale characteristics of a cool climate pinot noir. Packed full of fruity, berry and plum flavours on the nose, the palate is more of the same, backed by an earthy spiciness. The light body is complemented by soft tannins, which add a new dimension to this stunning wine. It ages well, having spent 17 months in oak barriques prior to bottling. If you can get your hands on a 2014 bottle in particular, you’re in for a treat.
Sharpham Beenleigh Reserve
Heading to Devon for our third and final offering - this one’s a little different. English red wine isn’t necessarily restricted to pinot noir and the Totnes based wine-makers at Sharpham prove it. This is a bold, rare English wine made with a 75/25% mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. With a surprisingly full body and a rich, complex flavour of zingy black and red berries, balanced by good acidity and low tannins, it’s a real treat. It goes well with a selection of cheeses and red meat.